The University of Wisconsin-Extension 4-H Youth Development Program inducted 100 laureates into the brand-new Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame Saturday, November 15. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony was the last statewide event celebrating 100 years of 4-H in Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame was established to recognize 4-H volunteers, financial supporters, staff and pioneers who made major contributions to 4-H at the local, state and national levels. The honorees represent 4-H in the broadest sense, according to Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development State Program Director Dale Leidheiser.
“We are inducting volunteers, supporters and UW-Extension employees who had an impact on the lives of children, their community or state through significant contributions of time, energy, or financial resource to 4-H and its members,” Leidheiser says.
Wisconsin 4-H is proud to be represented by Elizabeth Upham Davis and Caroline Upham Hughes in the 4-H Hall of Fame. Elizabeth and Caroline Upham spent their childhood at their summer home outside of Wisconsin Dells. As the United States started to grow rapidly at the beginning of the 1940s, the Upham sisters made an amazingly far-sighted gift to preserve their beloved childhood summer home from the hands of developers. The sisters gave 310 forested acres, including 200 on Blackhawk Island, to the University of Wisconsin. They wrote, “These lands are to be used as an outdoor laboratory and camp for youth, such as 4-H clubs and other people cooperating with the University of Wisconsin in the advancement of conservation, of agriculture and rural culture.”
The area now known as Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center is located on the Wisconsin River and is used by 4-H groups, schools, and many other community organizations as an outdoor laboratory in nature study, conservation, resource development, citizenship, and community leadership.
They were honored as the 1966 Friends of 4-H, where Henry Ahlgren, associate director of UW Cooperative Extension called them “among the most outstanding benefactors Wisconsin has ever known.”
Since 1914, Wisconsin 4-H has helped youth grow the leadership, critical thinking and communications skills necessary to be successful in a constantly changing world. Visit the Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame website to learn more about the individuals who supported 100 years of growing Wisconsin leaders.